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Tom Izzo voted by 247Sports as preseason Big Ten Coach of the Year

Let’s see this come to fruition.



Tom Izzo
© Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

A panel of Big Ten insiders voted Tom Izzo the preseason Big Ten coach of the year on 247Sports. Who was second?

Michigan State hoops fans are ready. It feels like the 2023-24 season is the most anticipated in what feels like decades as Tom Izzo has a heck of a team on his hands.

And everyone is expecting big things from Izzo and the Spartans.

In fact, according to a panel of “league insiders” on 247Sports, Izzo is the preseason Big Ten Coach of the Year pick with eight out of 16 votes. Here’s how the voting shook out:

  • Izzo (8)
  • Kevin Willard, Maryland (5)
  • Chris Collins, Northwestern (2)
  • Chris Holtmann, Ohio State (1)

It’s a little surprising to see no Matt Painter anywhere but maybe that’s because everyone seems to be picking Purdue to win the Big Ten. Anything less would be a disappointment for the reigning conference champs. Plus, he’s already in need of a prove-it year after getting a No. 1 seed in March and then losing to a 16-seed. He’s currently on fraud watch.

Seeing Holtmann on there was also slightly surprising, but many expect a bounce-back year for Ohio State. Some would argue that his coaching job in 2022-23 was his worst yet, so why not follow that up with his best?

Izzo has been named Big Ten coach of the year three times in his career (1998, 2009, 2012). It’s hard to believe he hasn’t won that award in over a decade and that’s it’s happened to him just three times. That’s what happens when you constantly coach league favorites. He has his best chance to win the award in 2023-24 since his last in 2012. Hopefully he can bring it home — which would spell a special season for MSU.

Other interesting voting notes

Izzo wasn’t the only Spartan to get love from this panel of insiders. Xavier Booker got two votes for Big Ten freshman of the year (Indiana’s Mackenzie Mgbako was first with eight), Jaden Akins had two votes for breakout candidate (Ohio State’s Bruce Thornton led with three), and Coen Carr had one vote for breakout candidate. Michigan State was picked to finish second in the Big Ten standings (5 first-place votes) right behind Purdue (11 first-place votes).

High hopes for this year’s Spartan team.

Writer, co-owner of Spartan Shadows. Michigan State and college football expert at FanSided and formerly of The Detroit News. Expert on all things Michigan State. Connor Muldowney has written about Michigan State since graduating from the university with a degree in journalism back in 2013. Ten years of experience as a Michigan State writer/reporter.